December 19, 2014

MARAD detains illegal cargo ship

A local cargo ship has been detained by the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) for being operating here without a valid certificate of inspection and the master not reporting its departure to the Georgetown Lighthouse last Wednesday.

The vessel had encountered problems in the Anna Regina area and sent a distress call to MARAD at which time it was discovered that the vessel was in breach of maritime rules.

In a release, MARAD said Motor Vessel Shark, which sent out a distress call to the Georgetown Lighthouse on Wednesday, May 15, is now under investigation for operating illegally.

MARAD stated that the MV Shark with four crew members on board departed Georgetown at approximately 11:00h Wednesday, bound for Port Kaituma, North West District with a load of general cargo. The vessel is owned by Devindra Umraow, and was being operated by Parsaram Persaud.

At 16:25h, the Georgetown Lighthouse received a phone call from a representative of the operator, “stating that it (the ship) was disabled and taking in lots of water. It was abandoned by the crew as the cargo shifted and some went overboard. The deck was flooded and the vessel took on a dangerous list as it lost positive stability.”

 The position of the vessel at this time was given as approximately 10 miles off Leguan Island, Essequibo River.

MARAD immediately activated its Search and Rescue System which involved the Coast Guard.  Since no other vessel was in the vicinity, MARAD dispatched the Pilot Launch Kakabelli, which left Georgetown at 17:00h and proceeded to the area. The crew did a visual and communication search for the Shark until 21:30h. However, there was no contact or sighting of the vessel.

Throughout this period, MARAD stated, the lighthouse was broadcasting emergency messages for other vessels to assist in the search. They were also in contact with the person who had chartered the boat.

Subsequently, at 05:10h the next day, Thursday, May 16, the Pilot Launch Thompson departed Georgetown and continued the search for MV Shark. It returned to port at 08:00h, to be replaced by the Kakabelli.  However, while the Kakabelli was being refuelled, the operator of the Shark called to report that it had been located on a beach in the vicinity of Anna Regina on the Essequibo Coast.   Once the report was confirmed, the department called off the search and rescue exercise and informed all parties accordingly. The vessel has since returned to Georgetown where it has been detained, MARAD stated.

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